Josh Gray

Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Powell, House, Grizzlies

The Pelicans have become the latest NBA franchise to add a female assistant coach to their ranks, announcing today in a press release that WNBA Hall-of-Famer Teresa Weatherspoon has joined the franchise as a player development coach.

According to the Pelicans, Weatherspoon and newly-hired coach A.J. Diggs will serve as two-way assistant coaches, working closely with the club’s two-way players and accompanying them as they go back and forth between the Pelicans and the Erie BayHawks. Currently, New Orleans’ two-way players are Josh Gray and Zylan Cheatham.

“I am thrilled to welcome and AJ and Teresa to our coaching staff here in New Orleans,” Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said in a statement. “As we continue to put an increased emphasis on player development, AJ and Teresa will play an integral role with our younger players and will be a huge asset to our players and staff both here in New Orleans and Erie.”

Weatherspoon is the second former WNBA star to be hired the Pelicans this offseason, joining Swin Cash, who was named the club’s VP of basketball operations and team development.

Let’s round up a few more items from around the Southwest…

Pelicans Sign Josh Gray To Two-Way Deal

JULY 24, 3:22pm: It’s official, according to a team press release.

JULY 19, 12:57pm: Free agent point guard Josh Gray has agreed to sign a two-way contract with the Pelicans, agent EJ Kusnyer tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

[RELATED: 2019/20 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

A former LSU standout, Gray went undrafted in 2016 and spent his first two professional seasons with the Northern Arizona Suns in the G League, averaging 16.2 PPG, 5.4 APG, 4.2 RPG, and 1.9 SPG in 95 total contests (29.3 MPG).

His play in the G League earned Gray a brief audition at the NBA level, as Phoenix signed him to a pair of 10-day contracts during the 2017/18 season. However, he appeared in just five games during that stretch, and then spent the 2018/19 campaign playing in South Korea.

Gray returned stateside to play for the Nets’ Summer League team in Las Vegas this month, averaging 9.8 PPG, 3.2 RPG, and 2.2 APG in six games (22.7 MPG) for the club.

Gray will occupy one of New Orleans’ two-way contract slots to start the season, with Arizona State forward Zylan Cheatham claiming the other. The Pelicans reportedly reached an agreement after the draft to ink Cheatham to a two-way deal, though it’s not yet official.

Atlantic Notes: Irving, Carter, ‘Melo, Nets, Raptors

Kyrie Irving is reportedly leaning toward the Nets in free agency and Brooklyn’s infrastructure is a major part of the reason why, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on the network’s free agency special.

General manager Sean Marks has assembled a deep roster filled with young talent and role players on team-friendly deals. The coaching staff is well regarded and management has made several shrewd moves to get the team to the point where two stars could come in and immediately contend for the Eastern Conference crown. The situation appears favorable compared to that of the Knicks, a team that would have to do additional work to build out the roster.

Kevin Durant and Irving have long been rumored to potentially team up in New York. Woj adds that the Knicks may have to start parsing the market for a second star to pair with Durant if they are going to sell the former MVP on a duo in the Garden.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks could bring in Vince Carter as a mentor to the team’s younger players, Ian Begley of SNY.tv reports. Carter has previously spoken highly on coach David Fizdale and the former All-Star gave consideration to joining New York last offseason.
  • Carmelo Anthony would have interest in signing with the Knicks and finishing his career in New York, Begley adds in the same piece. While Anthony would be a strong mentor for the Knicks’ young core, given how well he handled the spotlight in NYC, Begley notes that it’s far more likely that Melo signs with the Lakers this summer.
  • The Nets have added Amida Brimah to their Summer League roster, a source tells Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Nicola Lupo of Sportando (Twitter link), former Suns point guard Josh Gray will also play for Brooklyn’s Summer League team.
  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic examines the Raptors‘ cap constraints in an extensive piece. Regardless of whether Kawhi Leonard leaves in free agency, Toronto will likely be operating as an above-the-cap team.

Pacific Notes: Looney, Durant, Lakers, Kings

While it took him a few years to develop into the player he is now, Kevon Looney has become a key part of the Warriors‘ success, with head coach Steve Kerr referring to him as “one of our foundational pieces,” per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“To be called a foundational piece, I never would’ve believed that,” Looney said. “Even when I was playing pretty good last season, I never would’ve taken it that far.”

With DeMarcus Cousins sidelined, Looney was Golden State’s most reliable non-Draymond Green big man against the Blazers in the second round, averaging 10.0 PPG and 6.5 RPG with a .783 FG% in 27.6 minutes per contest over the course of the Warriors’ sweep.

The next step for Looney? Unrestricted free agency. Coming off a minimum salary contract, Looney is in for a big raise, and it’ll be interesting to see how aggressively the Warriors attempt to retain him, with key players like Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson also up for new deals this offseason.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Warriors may have handled Portland without Kevin Durant, but Draymond Green said after last night’s win that they’ll need KD back for the NBA Finals, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays. According to Friedell, the team remains “cautiously optimistic” that Durant will be available when the NBA Finals get underway on May 30.
  • Magic Johnson‘s First Take appearance on Monday represented the second time that he has blindsided Lakers owner Jeanie Buss this spring, writes Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. As Shelburne explains, Johnson spoke to Buss multiple times in the wake of his abrupt resignation and never went into detail about the grievances he had with GM Rob Pelinka and the rest of the organization, but he didn’t hesitate to air those grievances on First Take this week.
  • Buss ought to play a bigger public role on behalf of the Lakers as the team looks to move past its recent drama, opines Arash Markazi of The Los Angeles Times.
  • In addition to Jamaal Franklin, whose participation was previously reported, the Kings are hosting a series of other familiar names at their free agent mini-camp on Tuesday, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando, who identifies Josh Huestis, Amida Brimah, Josh Gray, and a handful of other free agents as some of the attendees.

Josh Gray To Play In South Korea

Former Suns guard Josh Gray has agreed to a deal with the LG Sakers of the Korean Basketball League, a source confirmed to Sportando.

Gray, 24, enjoyed a solid campaign in the G League with Phoenix’s affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns. In 28 games, the LSU product averaged 19.4 PPG, 6.4 APG and 4.8 RPG. Gray’s strong performance led to a pair of 10-day contracts with the NBA squad.

In five games with Phoenix, Gray posted 6.4 PPG, 2.4 APG and 2.0 RPG while playing just over 17 minutes per game. The Suns waived Gray in favor of Shaquille Harrison in late February.

Gray suited up for the Timberwolves in the NBA Summer League last month.

Nets Notes: FA Mini-Camp, RFA Market, LeVert

The Nets hosted a three-day mini-camp this week for veteran free agents, according to Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype (Twitter link), who identifies former Thunder guard Semaj Christon and 2016 first-round pick Brice Johnson as a pair of the participants.

Per Kennedy (Twitter link), other players with previous NBA experience who took part in Brooklyn’s mini-camp include Xavier Silas, Josh Gray, Naz Mitrou-Long, Jarrod Uthoff, and Byron Mullens. Walt Lemon Jr., who saw a little action with the Pelicans this season, was also in attendance, tweets NetsDaily.

While the Nets may not end up adding any of those players to their roster for next season, the mini-camp gives the club a chance to get a closer look at some players who might have flown under-the-radar, and perhaps some candidates for two-way contracts next season.

Here’s more on the Nets:

  • The Nets have been the NBA’s most active club in restricted free agency over the past two years, with little success. The club signed Allen Crabbe, Tyler Johnson, Donatas Motiejunas, and Otto Porter to offer sheets, but saw all four of those offers matched at the time (Crabbe was later traded to Brooklyn). With that recent history in mind, NetsDaily explores whether the club will foray into the RFA market again in 2018, with Aaron Gordon looming as a possible target.
  • The first draft pick of the Sean Marks era in Brooklyn, Caris LeVert showed impressive potential and versatility during his second NBA season in 2017/18, writes Michael Scotto of The Athletic. LeVert, who could become a long-term starter for the Nets, won’t be eligible for restricted free agency until 2020.
  • Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is on the wrong end of a lawsuit in New York State Court, as Brian Lewis of The New York Post details. Prokhorov is being counter-sued by Grigory Rodchenkov, the whistle-blower who exposed Russian cheating in the 2014 Olympics, for backing a libel lawsuit that Rodchenkov viewed as an intimidation tactic.

Suns Sign Shaquille Harrison To 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 21: The Suns have officially signed Harrison to a 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release. As expected, Gray has been waived.

FEBRUARY 20: The Suns will make a change to their roster this week, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, who tweets that the team is signing guard Shaquille Harrison to a 10-day contract. Phoenix will waive Josh Gray to create a roster spot, per Gambadoro.

Harrison, 24, went undrafted out of Tulsa in 2016 and caught on with the Suns for training camp later that year. He was cut before the regular season began, but landed with Phoenix’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns.

Harrison has spent the last two years with Northern Arizona, averaging 11.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 3.5 APG, and 1.9 SPG in 36 G League games this season.

Gray had been on a 10-day contract of his own with the Suns — actually, it was technically a 12-day contract. Even though he signed that deal on February 12, Gray was on track to remain under contract through Friday, since 10-day pacts must cover at least three NBA games. Assuming he’s waived before his deal expires, Gray will still be paid for the full 12 days.

Suns Sign Josh Gray To Second 10-Day Contract

FEBRUARY 12: The Suns have officially signed Gray to a second 10-day contract, the team announced today in a press release.

Gray’s 10-day deal will actually become a 12-day deal, since it must cover at least three games. The Suns play tonight and Wednesday, but their third game won’t come until after the All-Star break, on February 23.

FEBRUARY 11: Rookie point guard Josh Gray will receive a second 10-day contract from the Suns on Monday, according to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic.

Gray signed the first deal on February 2, so it was about to expire. The team made its intentions clear by bringing him on a road trip that will take them to Golden State tomorrow and Utah on Wednesday.

Pressed into service because of injuries to the Phoenix backcourt, Gray has averaged 6.8 points and 3.0 assists in four games, playing 17.5 minutes per night. After going undrafted out of LSU in 2016, he spent the past two seasons with the Suns’ G League affiliate.

Gray’s second 10-day deal will expire after the All-Star break and the team will have to decide whether to release him or sign him for the rest of the season.

Suns Sign Josh Gray To 10-Day Deal

11:34am: The Suns have officially signed Gray to a 10-day contract, confirming the deal in a press release.

11:30am: The Suns are expected to sign G League guard Josh Gray to a 10-day contract at some point today, according to Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). A corresponding roster move won’t be necessary, since Phoenix opened up a roster spot by waiving Greg Monroe on Thursday.

[RELATED: Suns buy out Greg Monroe]

Gray, 24, went undrafted out of LSU in 2016 and has played for the Northern Arizona Suns, Phoenix’s G League affiliate, over the last two seasons. After a solid rookie season, Gray has improved his production in 2017/18, averaging 17.9 PPG, 5.9 APG, 4.0 RPG, and 2.3 SPG with a .447/.421/.758 shooting line in 31 games.

Back in October, we heard that Gray had received multiple offers from teams overseas, but decided to return to the G League in the hopes of earning an NBA call-up at some point this season. It appears he’ll get that opportunity with the Suns.

Assuming Gray’s 10-day deal with Phoenix is finalized today, he’ll remain under contract through February 11. After that, the Suns could sign him to one more 10-day deal, then would have to decide whether or not to lock him up for the rest of the season.

And-Ones: Rockets, Salary Cap, Millsap, Gray

While James Harden and Trevor Ariza helped to recruit Chris Paul to Houston back in June, Bobby Brown‘s role in selling Paul on the Rockets shouldn’t be overlooked, as David Yapkowitz of Basketball Insiders outlines.

“That’s one of my good friends. We played together in New Orleans and we built a bond from then,” Brown said of his new Rockets teammate. “The basketball world is so small, once you build a bond with somebody that’s real cool and has a great personality, it’s almost like a no-brainer.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the NBA:

  • The latest salary cap projections from the NBA – which forecast a modest increase to $101MM for 2018/19 – should bode well for teams like the Lakers, who have set themselves up to create major cap room next summer, writes Matt Moore of CBSSports.com. Moore adds that the projections could lead to more trades during this season, as clubs make an effort to clear cap space or avoid the tax.
  • Of all the Eastern All-Stars who changed teams this offseason, Paul Millsap was almost certainly discussed the least. However, he made a very strong impression during his preseason debut with the Nuggets this weekend. Gina Mizell of The Denver Post has the details.
  • Former LSU point guard Josh Gray, who played last season for the Northern Arizona Suns, is expected to return to the G League and seek an NBA call-up in 2017/18. Gray, who has received multiple offers from clubs overseas, has drawn some interest from NBA teams, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando.
  • In a piece for 2 Ways & 10 Days, Chris Reichert makes the case that the NBA should implement the coach’s challenge system that has been used and tested in the G League.